The History Behind the Community Recreation Center (CRC)
A Vision for Equity and Inclusion
Oak Park is a place for all to feel welcome: to be safe, to be healthy, and to feel a sense of belonging. Many decades ago, the Village took action to embrace equity for all and establish our community values of strength in diversity. Ever since then, Oak Park has been committed to its inclusive mission.
Today, the challenge of achieving inclusivity and equity continues. Our diverse collection of families presents different recreation and fitness needs, and although Oak Park enjoys many park district services and amenities—including two outdoor pools, parks, an ice rink, a gymnastic center, tennis courts and nearly 3,000 programs—local residents lack access to a gymnasium, fitness facility, an indoor walking track, or a multi-generational community center that serves families and individuals including our growing senior population.
Based on public engagement through community surveys and the 2016 feasibility study, we believe the construction of a Community Recreation Center will meet the diverse needs of residents of all ages, abilities, backgrounds, and economic status. As its currently envisioned, the Community Recreation Center will offer our community:
- A safe place for youth of all ages to go immediately after school
- A year-round, indoor walking track that Oak Park residents of all ages can access at no cost
- A place for Oak Park youth to access mental health services and creative social-emotional programming
- Affordable group classes and fitness opportunities for individuals and families
- A place for teen programming on weekends and evenings
- A place to bring our community together and make connections to build and strengthen community bond
Many Oak Park residents are feeling financial pressure from increasing property taxes. The Parks Foundation of Oak Park and the Park District are listening to these community concerns and are committed to using existing resources in conjunction with a Capital Campaign to build a much-needed Community Recreation Center without increasing taxes.
The Parks Foundation of Oak Park is committed to primarily funding this project with grants and charitable donations. In addition, the operating costs of the facility will be funded by user fees. The Capital Campaign is spearheaded by a group of local residents, donors and volunteers committed to the achievement of this bold, transformative project.
The Community Recreation Center will be located on Madison Avenue east of Ridgeland Avenue. The one-acre property site, which was donated to the Parks Foundation, will serve as an anchor to an area of Oak Park that can benefit from revitalization.
The full vision of the project will be split into two phases. The design and capital campaign is currently focused on Phase One.
Phase One will consist of:
- Inclusive restrooms
- Community Rooms
- Multipurpose Room
- E-Sports Room
- Mental Health Consultation Suite
- Fitness Center
- Group Exercise
- Inclusive Locker Rooms
- Child Watch / Play Area
Phase Two will provide an indoor aquatic center with:
- Lap Pool
- Activity Pool
- Therapy Pool